Virtual Coupling technology

Virtual Coupling technology

The main difference from autopilot system itself is the radio communication between Lead and Remote trains which allows to use information from the Lead train to adjust control on the Remote train.
The drawing shows structure of ‘Virtual Coupling’ autopilot system for 3ES5K electric locomotive. System designed using modern hardware and software solutions and accepted by RZD.

Current ‘Virtual Coupling’ autopilot driving technology provides 8 minutes trains interval on the mainlines equipped by PTC (signaling and safety) system.

Autopilot itself is a key element for driving cargo trains with 1 minute punctuality.
One of the main features of the technology is the ability to upload on-board database (speed limits etc.) in real time. For the database synchronization we use crypto-protected wireless channel between special server (SVL TR) and autopilot system.
Automatic train driving seriously decreases station arriving time and keeps traffic light street open for the Remote coupled train.

To solve this task NIIAS institute with ‘AVP Technology’ develops solution which transmits station route data (speed profile and stop point location) from station signaling system to locomotive safety and autopilot systems.

On using ‘Virtual Coupling’ autopilot system drivers on Lead and Remote locomotives have got all necessary information about traffic situation, location of both coupled trains, schedule execution and locomotive diagnostics.

Evolution of PTC systems, which can use short block-sections like ABTCMSh, allows to obtain maximum efficiency of combining those types of PTC with adjusted ‘Virtual Coupling’ technology. It can decrease time interval to 6 minutes as well as increase lines turnover.

The obvious goal of ‘Virtual Coupling’ technology is to drive more trains as one unit or pack. The closest task is to drive pack of 3-5 Virtual Coupled trains with 8 minutes interval.
We’re developing and adopting modern communication equipment to provide data exchange in such kind of train pack.

According to technical requirements of OAO ‘RZD’ ‘Virtual Coupling’ autopilot system contains hardware and software for transmitting real-time telemetry from locomotive to RZD servers. This data allows to monitor locomotives in 24/7 mode and helps to control train traffic.